The Source of Human Knowledge: Plato’s problem and Orwell’s problem

Document Type: Research Paper


Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch, Tabriz, Iran


Chomsky cannot help wondering at the fact that we, despite so vast evidence, have little knowledge about the obvious evidence. A good example, I think, is the child’s way of first language acquisition. A great many researchers have studied various aspects of child language acquisition at different stages of the child’ life and have brought to light many details of language development. However, it remains uncertain how the child can cope with this heavy task of language acquisition within the first two years of his life. Since its birth, the child begins acquiring the intonation, the sound, the phoneme, the word, the meaning, and the structure of the language, to which he is exposed so fast that it is beyond our imagination. Mind that the same child is unable to do the simplest addition or subtraction of numbers within the early years of life. Thus, the intriguing question for Chomsky is: How is it that the child can acquire the complex system of a language such as English, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese … very fast despite so little and often deficient linguistic input?


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